Hello all! Welcome back, and Happy Monday!
I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, with my studies, and healthy aging is what my latest module in my continuing education was all about. I’m about to write the test, and I must say I do feel optimistic. 😉
The principle of the module is that age is NOT a declination, but rather a transition. A period to be savoured, appreciated, exploited to the fullest potential, as one would youth, young adulthood or the fabulous years of a thirty-something. 🙂 I have to admit, I loves me that idea. I have always been attracted to elders. Not in a sexual, “hey there grampa whatcha doing” kind of way, but with an honest respect and admiration.
Of course, during High School years, it was uncool to be old, and like the generation ahead of me, at one point the thought of dying before I got old definately had some ring to it. But why? Well, for me anyway, seeing the elders in our society banished to nursing homes, and treated as less than second class citizens was not a fate I wished upon myself. My father’s extremely negative reactions to my maternal grandmother’s visits (which in hindsight was beyond ridiculous, as he was a scant 6 months younger than her) definately helped shape that view. It’s sad, because she was a very kind, and loving woman. She knew so much, and readily and happily shared her knowledge with us. I don’t honestly ever remember ever feeling like she couldn’t wait until my parents came to pick me up on the rare occasions I spent the day with her in her “home”.
Unbeknownst to her, she positively shaped my views of older people. Her honesty was always present. She was never embarrased or ashamed to tell me anything, even the time I asked her what her special panties were for, and she said it was because her bladder was tired, and needed help because urinating (or rather tinkling, as I knew it to be called back then) would just happen to her. Because she was truthful and didn’t make a big deal of it, neither did I.
In junior High, I used to volunteer at an “Old folks home” as we not-so-affectionatley called them on the prairies in the early 70’s and early 80’s. I actually loved the lady I was assigned to, and was heartbroken when she passed away. She was in a wheelchair, with no mobility of her lower body, the nurses had to do so much for her, and she had no family, so she would come once in awhile to my foster home to eat a meal with us. I will never forget her amazing smile, and her soft warm eyes. You knew that she was not happy with where and how she was finishing her days, but her spirit refused to give in the horrible depression that you could easily see in almost every other room in that building. I won’t ever forget the smell in there either, it was awful. Urine and disinfectant. Each odour battling the other for supremecacy, niether winning, nor losing, just forever trapped in an endless dance.
So, where I’m really going with all this is here. It dosn’t have to be horrible. Mine will be fantastic. I will live to be 100 (hopefully) with all my wits about me and able to sing and dance and go to the bathroom all by myself as I should. Aging is NOT ugly, it is a glorious season. Flowers are still beautiful even as the colour fades, and the perfume is not as strong, why should we be any different?
I will quote from the book here, page 42 from Healthy at 100 by John Robbins, which was the textbook for this module. http://books.google.ca/books?id=sdDx5iwo2R0C&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=4+of+the+5+key+factors+that+have+produced+the+exceptionally+healthy+aging+in+the+Abkhasians&source=bl&ots=zXBo-1yYC5&sig=p_ohbaVTQdG46NQ103NjDKk5xrg&hl=fr#v=snippet&q=aging&f=false
“Ageism presents a predjudice agains a group that all people will inevitably join if they live long enough. As a result, an ideology that equates aging with deterioration steals hope from everyone, and from every stage of our lives.”
It’s true. Being bombarded with quotes such as “Over the hill”, “Old Fogey”, “Old Maid”, “Dirty Old Man”, etc, do us all damage as we internalize this thought process and then run the risk of proving that to be true, as we believe it. What a tragic disservice we do ourselves, our families, our friends, and all future and present generations.
The book mentioned the film Calendar Girls, which I have never seen, but now I think I may have to. How refreshing to see our beautiful older women in a place generally reserved for the 25 and under crowd. I mean, it’s not like life ends at 27 or the minute a woman has children, so why not prolong and savour all the joy and all the ups and downs that life has to offer us. There are cultures that see achieving old age as the crown of a life well lived, and I for one, want very much to be in that group of humans.
For myself, I do not intend to fight aging every step of the way, and will certainly do my best to age gracefully…while still dying my hair, at least for now. Yes, I have a ways to go, vanity runs deep for me still. 😉
I hold NO judgements to anyone who does not share my humble opinion, and would love to (politely of course) discuss with anyone thier views on aging and what it means to them.
I will close this decidedly long post with a photo of a lovely woman named Juli. This picture is from her blog entiteled “Teapots and Polka Dots”, which you can find here. http://www.teapotsandpolkadots.net/2011/12/this-is-me.html
Live in the now, prepare for the future.
Blessings and light to all.